Tell us about yourself. What brought you to work as the Assessment Analyst for Project Vox?
My name is Adam Griggs and I am a Research Services Librarian at Mercer University. I found out about Project Vox as a second-year grad student in Library Science at UNC-Chapel Hill. At the time, I was hoping to find a project that could combine digital scholarship with my philosophy background. I had a class with Abby Flanigan where she mentioned working at Project Vox and I was immediately interested in learning more. Abby put me in contact with Liz Milewicz who heads Duke’s Digital Scholarship Services. Liz invited me to join the team for a field experience as an assessment analyst which I did in July 2016, and I liked it so much that I stayed on for a second field through the Spring and into Summer 2017.
What were some of the things that you learned while working on the project?
Before joining Project Vox, I had not had much experience with assessing anything, much less an online academic resource. Liz really helped me to develop a process for evaluating the state of Project Vox with the tools we had available to us. In that regard, I was able to get hands-on experience with many digital tools, like Google Analytics, Qualtrics, and NVivo, and I was given many opportunities to talk about my work in both informal groups and in more formal presentations. Doing a user-focused assessment on a digital humanities project was somewhat of a new idea in general and conducting a survey and in-depth interviews with users of Project Vox, really showed me how important listening to users can be to improve both scholarship and services. Additionally, having assessment data which can show growth and impact really does affect how people react to your initiative.
One of the best things I learned about working with Project Vox is how to be a part of a genuine collaboration. There was a lot of emphasis placed on setting goals and discussing my progress with Liz, the rest of the Outreach and Assessment team, and the full Project Vox group. This really helped me feel like I was part of the team and that I had an integral role in the success of the project. It was honestly one of the best collaborations that I’ve ever been a part of.
How did working on Project Vox affect your own research projects?
Working with Project Vox really opened my eyes to what Digital Scholarship can do. I was able to interview active academic philosophers about their research practices and it is clear that there are some areas of scholarship that are not being studied or written about enough. Digital Scholarship is one of the ways to address those issues by allowing for experimentation with new ideas and subjects, which will hopefully reach new and diverse audiences on an open platform. Being accessible to all on the web can really help to create community around shared goals and academic interests (especially when those interests are non-canonical). I really hope to be able to develop and facilitate similar types of digital projects over the course of my library career.